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Old 07-07-2012, 01:08 AM   #1
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Towing with a Pilot without an equalizer hitch

I'm curious to know how others towing small trailers with a Honda Pilot are set up. The owner's manual says not to use an equalizing hitch, because it will put undo stress on the hitch. This is pretty general, maybe there is an equalizing hitch that is suited to the Pilot, or maybe it's not necessary? We're towing a 2850 dry/3200 laden trailer, and the TV is rated for 4500.
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:38 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Globie64 View Post
I'm curious to know how others towing small trailers with a Honda Pilot are set up. The owner's manual says not to use an equalizing hitch, because it will put undo stress on the hitch. This is pretty general, maybe there is an equalizing hitch that is suited to the Pilot, or maybe it's not necessary? We're towing a 2850 dry/3200 laden trailer, and the TV is rated for 4500.
To not tow that trailer with a load equalizing hitch is an absolute guarantee of "loss of control", that can lead to severe injuries, or worse, for you and you passengers.

If your tow vehicle is not suited for towing, then don't tow with it or get a different tow vehicle.

Andy
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Old 07-07-2012, 06:24 AM   #3
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It is the tongue weight that you need to be concern with. What is the tongue weight of the trailer and the tongue weight capacity of the Pilot? Too much tongue weight and you create an unstable steering and braking condition for the tow vehicle. I had a lightweight trailer , about 2800# and a 250# tongue weight and towed without equilizing or sway control for years. But the tow vehicle had a tongue capacity of 600#
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Old 07-07-2012, 07:09 AM   #4
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Kosmo's got it right. If the tongue weight of your trailer is under the Honda's hitch tongue weight rating, WD could be optional. With reasonable tongue weight and stuff you've loaded in the rear of the SUV, the WD hitch should be optional depending on your driving preferences.

Even if you were to use the WD, I would think that the minimal weight leveraged over to the front wheels from your Globetrotter would not generate much "stress" on the Honda hitch anyway.

Anti sway is a different story.

I also pull a cargo trailer. It is kinda unusual to see WD or anti sway on cargo trailers. I often do not hook up the WD bars when the trailer load is light or, I am able to distribute it in the trailer. Pulling the Airstream with about 800lbs on the hitch, I do not have much control over those variables and use the WD all the time.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:28 AM   #5
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Sound like Honda has installed an undersized hitch receiver. First look at the rating of the hitch and how it is attached to the truck. You may want to look at after market receivers. The original on my Sub failed because GM bean counter cut it down to save money.

Any and all equalizing hitches will put the same amount of stress on the receiver to achieve the same results. You are torquing the frame to add weight to the front axles while reducing the weight on the rear axle.

You really want a WD hitch.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:35 AM   #6
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Sounds like a Honda engineers way of beating around the bush in order to tell you
that it's not designed to tow a heavier load.
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:08 AM   #7
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Its rated for 4500 pounds with a 450 pound tongue weight, according to the manual. Our trailer is 2900 dry, and about 3300 loaded, if that much. We travel light and don't take a lot of stuff, and there is nothing in the TV other than a couple of overnight bags of clothes and our laptops, some tools and a floor jack. The manual says that towing with an improperly adjusted weight distributing hitch is the problem.
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Old 08-17-2013, 09:17 PM   #8
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Buried in the info for our 2009 Honda Pilot was the info that it is only rated for 3,500# for travel trailers. The advertised 4,500# limit is for boats. When I asked why, I was told it's because boats have more weight on the back, and thus less on the hitch.

Given that our "new to us" 23' '71 Safari weighs 3530# empty, we concluded from that that we needed to beef up our connection to the Pilot with an Equal-I-Zer hitch, and put as much weight as we can in the back of the trailer, and not carry any more than we have to.

Initially, we had an Equal-I-Zer hitch rated for 10,000#, which is far beyond anything we either need and far beyond anything the Pilot can handle. It made a lot of noise on the road, pops and clicks which we were told were normal, but unpleasant.

Now we have an Equal-I-Zer hitch rated for 6,000#, which is much better behaved and quieter. We also had to go on the road once with just a regular hitch, and that worked fine too. But flat Illinois Interstates at 55MPH aren't much of a challenge.

Maybe I'll have more to say after we try it on a long trip. But I don't intend to push any speed or load limits with a load so close to the rated max.
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Old 08-18-2013, 07:41 AM   #9
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The Eqilizer alone can add close to one hundred pounds to the rear of the car. And it is way back from the axle, be aware. Jim
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:56 PM   #10
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To not tow that trailer with a load equalizing hitch is an absolute guarantee of "loss of control", that can lead to severe injuries, or worse, for you and you passengers.

If your tow vehicle is not suited for towing, then don't tow with it or get a different tow vehicle.

Andy
My new Audi SQ5 has the same warning (in manual) about equalizing hitch. May have something to do with their computer traction system. Who are we to believe?
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:07 PM   #11
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My new Audi SQ5 has the same warning (in manual) about equalizing hitch. May have something to do with their computer traction system. Who are we to believe?
You don't need to really believe anyone or anybody, or even in print.

But you should never, ever, kick the laws of Physics to the curb, which is what load equalizing hitches are all about.

Andy
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:32 PM   #12
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In simplest of terms, a load equalizer hitch lifts the back of the tow vehicle to remove weight from the rear axle and transfer it to the front axle. Think of inserting a long steel bar into your hitch receiver and lifting up.

This lifting twists the receiver vertically at its attachment points. If the attachment points or receiver are not strong enough something will tear and break. I think due to the unibody construction (no heavy duty frame) that is their indirect admission.

Some have reinforced the hitch receiver by welding a steel angle or tube to the receiver and connecting the other end by welding or bolting it to the body structure somewhere forward, near the axle. Or custom made a stronger hitch receiver with similar supporting leverage. A disadvantage of this technique may be if you get hit from behind at the hitch receiver (when not towing) damage may also occur at that forward attachment point. If this is done, it should only be done only by someone with great experience and understanding of what they are doing. There may also be other implications such as warranty or insurance.

It is usually a good idea, when using a weight distribution hitch on this type vehicle especially, to choose one with tapered and flexible weight distribution bars that are rated for the trailer and tongue weight, but not substantially more. Flexibility at this connection can help prevent damage to your tow vehicle receiver and the Airstream itself. Especially at steep driveway entrances.

doug
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:55 PM   #13
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Initially, we had an Equal-I-Zer hitch rated for 10,000#, which is far beyond anything we either need and far beyond anything the Pilot can handle. It made a lot of noise on the road, pops and clicks which we were told were normal, but unpleasant.

Now we have an Equal-I-Zer hitch rated for 6,000#, which is much better behaved and quieter.
As you found, I don't think hitches are something where 'bigger is better'. You really want to match your hitch to the weight of your rig as much as possible to ensure the hitch performs as it was engineered to.
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:28 PM   #14
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Whatever you may read on these forums, do not use an equalizing type hitch unless you have a body on frame type vehicle.

A unibody structure, like you'll find on these crossover SUV's, minivans, etc., cannot handle the stresses thru the structure that a WD hitch setup will induce.
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